Pain automatically activates facial muscle groups

Oct 27, 2008

A study has found that people who facially express pain in a more intense way are not exaggerating if their perception of a painful stimulation is controlled. The study conducted by Miriam Kunz is published in the November issue of Pain.

The study was conducted on 20 men and 20 women between the ages of 18 and 30. Kunz placed a heating device on their leg to provoke the painful stimulus. During the test, Kunz asked the test subjects to push a button when the heat became moderately painful as she filmed their facial expressions.

"Individuals who react to pain with intense facial expressions are in fact feeling more pain if we rely on quantitative verbal measures independent of the painful experience," says Kunz, a postdoctoral student at the Université de Montréal Faculty of Dentistry, Department of Stomatology, and the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal.

However, they have a lower tolerance for pain. "All test subjects with an intense facial reaction to pain estimated that the sensation was "moderately painful" between 45 and 47 degrees Celsius, while others had a higher threshold," she says.

All individuals have a non-verbal mode of communication influenced by culture, education, age, sex, etc. This mode relies on innate and universal programming. That is why a blind child knows how to smile, even if he has never seen his mother smile. "Pain, just like joy, sadness, fear, surprise, anger and disgust automatically activate certain muscle groups that make the expression appear on the face," says Kunz.

Source: University of Montreal

Explore further: Growing a blood vessel in a week

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Growing a blood vessel in a week

Oct 24, 2014

The technology for creating new tissues from stem cells has taken a giant leap forward. Three tablespoons of blood are all that is needed to grow a brand new blood vessel in just seven days. This is shown ...

Testing time for stem cells

Oct 24, 2014

DefiniGEN is one of the first commercial opportunities to arise from Cambridge's expertise in stem cell research. Here, we look at some of the fundamental research that enables it to supply liver and pancreatic ...

Team finds key signaling pathway in cause of preeclampsia

Oct 23, 2014

A team of researchers led by a Wayne State University School of Medicine associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology has published findings that provide novel insight into the cause of preeclampsia, the leading cause ...

Rapid test to diagnose severe sepsis

Oct 23, 2014

A new test, developed by University of British Columbia researchers, could help physicians predict within an hour if a patient will develop severe sepsis so they can begin treatment immediately.

User comments : 0